Manchester United sign Arsenal captain Robin van Persie for £24m in major coup for Alex Ferguson

Manager steals a march over his biggest rivals after Arsenal finally agree to offload Dutch striker

Sir Alex Ferguson was last night celebrating a major transfer market victory over his biggest rivals after Arsenal finally relented and agreed to sell Robin van Persie to Manchester United for about £24m.

The move represents the biggest coup of the summer transfer window so far and firmly re-establishes United's position in English football after surrendering their title to Manchester City in such dramatic circumstances last season.

Roberto Mancini, the City manager, failed in his attempts to implore his board to move for the Dutch international, 29, who announced last month that he would not be entering negotiations to renew his contract at the Emirates Stadium, with his existing deal heading into its final 12 months.

That alone rocked Arsenal's manager, Arsène Wenger, who believed the bond he had established with the player since he signed him eight years ago from Feyenoord would be enough to convince him to stay.

However, the statement merely acted to strengthen Ferguson's desire to sign Van Persie, who scored 34 goals in English football last season, and he has spent the summer trying to bridge the gap between the two clubs.

Wenger had insisted he would not allow the player to go for less than £30m but Manchester United's final offer is believed to be nearer to the £20m that was set aside for the forward. It could rise to £24m.

Wenger had favoured Van Persie moving to Juventus, who lodged a £10m bid at the start of the summer. Ferguson spoke to Wenger on Monday in an attempt to broker a deal that Wenger was always reluctant to agree to, and talks developed quickly between the two clubs yesterday.

The player had privately set his heart on a move to Old Trafford and that was on the brink of completion last night when both Arsenal and Manchester United released statements saying a fee had been agreed. Van Persie was due to head straight from the Netherlands' friendly in Brussels against Belgium last night to have his medical in Manchester today.

Manchester United are believed to have prepared a deal which, including image rights, will land the player near the £200,000-a-week salary he wanted over the course of a five-year contract.A statement on United's website said: "Manchester United is pleased to announce it has reached agreement with Arsenal Football Club for the transfer of Robin van Persie. The deal is subject to a medical and the agreement of personal terms. A further announcement will be made in due course."

Arsenal added their own statement: "Arsenal Football Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for the transfer of Robin van Persie to Manchester United. Van Persie will travel to Manchester on Thursday in order to agree personal terms and complete a medical ahead of the proposed move."

Van Persie will become the first player to move directly to Old Trafford from Arsenal since Viv Anderson made the same switch 25 years ago. He is also the latest in a succession of big names to flee the Emirates, following the high-profile departures of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gaël Clichy. There could be further disappointment, with Barcelona still chasing Alex Song, who has admitted he was flattered by the interest of the Catalan giants. In contrast, Manchester United have reaffirmed their position in the domestic game with the addition of last year's double player of the year.


Get Adobe Flash player


Related articles from London's Evening Standard...

Robin van Persie exit shows flaws in Arsene Wenger's argument

‘Manchester United can win the title with Robin van Persie’

More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
footballSporting Lisbon take on Chelsea as Manchester City host Roma
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Arts and Entertainment
Mystery man: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in '‘Gone Girl'
businessForbes 400 list released
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
peopleSwimmer also charged with crossing double land lines and excessive speeding
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy